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Voting machines aren't a hit in Grand County

Administrators forward a 'litany' of complaints

By Carrie Switzer
For the Deseret Morning News   29 November 2004

      MOAB ? Grand County administrators have forwarded a "litany" of complaints about electronic voting machines to state elections officials.
      Despite glowing reviews from other parts of the country and a public relations campaign by Diebold Corp. lauding its equipment, the Grand County Council has passed along what it calls six extreme examples of inaccuracy in the equipment.
      The examples "are only a fraction of the errors that have surfaced regarding use of this new voting equipment," states a letter from the council to the state Election Voting Equipment Selection Committee, which is scheduled to meet Dec. 8 and 9 in Salt Lake City. Diebold Corp. is to make a presentation there.
      "Grand County has carefully followed the issue of electronic voting machines as it evolves throughout the nation and in our own state," the letter from the council continues. "States and counties that rushed into the purchase of the new equipment are now publicly regretting their decision and bearing even more expense to make the computers works the way they need to.      Diebold, however, is "thrilled" by the equipment's performance in the Nov. 2 election. Spokesman David Bear in an e-mailed press release to Utah's news media, said the company has "worked hard to make Diebold's system the best in the world by adding features such as paper ballot printouts, personalized card encoders and a host of checks and balances."
      Grand clerk/auditor Fran Townsend and council chairwoman Judy Carmichael signed a letter asking the committee to answer a list of 11 questions, including who will be trained, who will be on hand during elections, how will the machines be maintained and how will their operation and tallies be secured.
      Bear said in a telephone interview that the touch screen electronic voting equipment now being criticized by the government officials has been in use for 10 to 15 years under the ownership of Global Elections Systems.
      Diebold, known for its security systems and automated teller machines, purchased Global Elections Systems two years ago, about the time many of the inaccuracies began to be reported.
      Diebold owns the TFE Securities company in Bountiful. Bear, speaking from Texas, said he plans to attend the December presentation to Utah election officials.
      He said the company offers assistance to election officials to the degree assistance is needed.
      "We don't run elections, we support election officials who run the elections."

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